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Tinnitus Misconceptions: The truth behind eight myths of tinnitus

Tinnitus is a complex neurological condition which has proven difficult to treat over the years. As the perception of the tinnitus sound is subjective, it manifests very differently in different people. This subjectivity has led to the spread of many misconceptions. Here we are going to separate fact from fiction as we will shed some light on eight commonly held beliefs of tinnitus.

Myth 1: Tinnitus is a disease

False. Tinnitus is not a disease (i). It is a symptom of another condition, such as hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of high blood pressure, depression or anxiety.

Myth 2: There is no cure for tinnitus

True. There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are treatment options that have proven effective to improve the symptoms of tinnitus and allow people to manage their condition day-to-day and have a good quality of life. Some of these treatments are bimodal neuromodulation, therapy, and hearing aids for tinnitus.

Myth 3: Tinnitus is all in the mind

False. Tinnitus is a very real neurological condition that affects function in the inner ear or in the brain. It can be incredibly challenging to live with. Whether it is categorised as subjective or objective tinnitus, it is certainly not an imagined condition.

Myth 4: Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus

False. Hearing aids can be very helpful for some people in treating or coping with tinnitus. Tinnitus is closely linked with hearing loss. As your brain adapts to hearing loss, you can experience tinnitus because it is expecting to hear sounds it no longer does. Hearing aids can work to improve the symptoms of tinnitus by improving your hearing.

Myth 5: Tinnitus is an elderly person’s condition

False. Tinnitus has been reported in all age groups, even young children. It can be more common in older people as it is strongly linked with hearing loss, which tends to occur with age.

Myth 6: Tinnitus causes hearing loss/deafness

False. Although severe tinnitus can interfere with your hearing, the condition has not been shown to directly cause hearing loss.

Myth 7: Tinnitus gets progressively worse over time

Maybe. There is no hard and fast answer to this as it will vary depending on the patient. Tinnitus does not necessarily get progressively worse over time. Symptoms can fluctuate over time and have been known to improve over time for some people as they habituate to their tinnitus.

Myth 8: Tinnitus always sounds like ‘ringing’ in the ear

False. While tinnitus is commonly referred to as ‘ringing in the ears’ the condition doesn’t manifest that way in everyone. Tinnitus can take many different forms of sounds, including ringing, buzzing, hissing and humming, which can also change over time.

There you have it. Eight misconceptions about tinnitus cleared up! We have more information to help you better understand tinnitus here. Are you interested in treatment? Book a call with our team today to discuss how we can help.

References:

(i) https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/tinnitus

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